>>My guess is that a poorly encapsulated, communal gloop of organisms lost out to closely guarded species for the same reason that the Linux community didnâ€™t come up the iPhone: Encapsulation serves a purpose.
>First of all, this presumes that the Linux (or Open Source) community WANTED to â€œcome upâ€ with the iPhone. I would argue that the community is decidedly NOT interested in that. Therefore, failing to create the iPhone is not proof of the communityâ€™s failure to innovate, replied Jim.
Oh, shut. up.
If the community had decided to not come up with an iPhone-like device, then this itself is a proof that OSS is not the panacea that RMS wants us to believe. To come up with something like the iPhone software (I am not even talking about the hardware), you need more than one person. You probably need anything between 25 and 100 people. And you need them closely working. Not via IRC, not via mailing lists. But face to face, daily, for a couple of years.
It’s because of that exact same reason why there is not a single serious video editor on Linux that works as well as Vegas or Final Cut Express or even iMovie. Because it’s not a small hack that you put together in the afternoons with your buddies over IRC. It’s a very complex problem and it requires a lot of experience with graphics, video, audio and a need to work perfectly together. I was talking with JBQ the other night about video editors and he agreed that it’s much more complex to write a *good* video editor than to write a *modern* web browser.
I’ve said it a thousand times, I will say it one more: the BeOS was great at its time because the engineers working on it could walk at the cubes and offices of the other engineers and discuss, ask, argue in real time and take architecture and engineering decisions in minutes. This created a cohesive, small, fast and beautiful OS as the iPhone feels today to most. The OSS community does not have this luxury because of its very nature of its contributors being scattered in the globe and work at their own leisure. Complex applications that do well in the OSS world (e.g. Apache, PostgreSQL) is mostly because the core individual contributors work full time on them, or because companies are behind them. Not Joe Programmer from his mommy’s basement. Joe can certainly offer a patch to a complex OSS application, but anything more than that would be overkill. Joe can certainly still write “Yet Another Image Viewer” though.
I won’t be able to reply to most comments btw, holidays are coming.